Art heals the heart
The personal struggles and healing journey of fine art artist Adli have influenced his work
ARTIST Adli, formerly known as Leo Ari, is best known for his accomplishments in the field of music. Musician, singer, composer and lyricist, he became famous after the release of his EP love must be real and for songs like Karma, Tersengat, Invincible and Getir.
In 2020, Adli, whose real name is Muhammad Adli Nazrin was also featured in Botanicala compilation album in collaboration with Room Circle and Fred Perry.
Recently, Adli added the title of “artist” to his long list of accomplishments, thanks to his recent first art exhibition hunt the dragon at the G13 gallery.
Adli, who earned an MA in International Cultural Policy and Management from the University of Warwick in 2017 and an MA in Fine Arts and Technology from Universiti Teknologi Mara last year, has always had an artistic side.
His passion for art developed from an early age.
“Thinking back to my childhood, I realized that creativity has always been an integral part of my life. However, the conscious decision to pursue it as a lifelong pursuit only emerged in high school when I started thinking deeply about what I wanted to do with my life,” Adli revealed.
Calm in chaos
A work of art may seem ordinary to some, but for the artist behind the brush, it could have been a whole different journey.
Adli’s work, a collection of seven pieces, depicts a school of fish from above, and it looks chaotic at first glance, but after looking at the art for a while, the viewer can feel a sense of calm. and harmony.
You would never know that the cheerful and friendly entertainer once battled depression, both personally and professionally. The artwork says a lot about his state of mind during his healing and recovery process.
Her work depicts a sense of serenity and freedom, despite the clutter and chaos. The choice of colors like pastel colors are soothing and evoke calm.
“The main subject of my current work is koi fish. Much of the inspiration came from Chinese koi fish folklore that spent a hundred years swimming upstream in an effort to evolve into a dragon,” Adli said. .
“I was inspired to research koi fish after religiously observing fish in my koi pond at home every morning when I was going through a depression,” Adli said honestly.
Adli revealed that it was his therapist who encouraged him to draw. Adli took his advice and allocated a small space in his home for drawing, which he described as a “safe space”, during the healing process.
Then, he started to capture every moment and devoted himself body and soul to art. The result was a beautiful collection of artwork, inspired by koi fish, which became a symbol of courage in those times.
“The works were inspired by my healing journey. After going through depression, my work was a reaction to ensure that my daily art practice was an ongoing space for healing.
“Drawing inspiration from regional Asian folklore was also crucial for me as it included Asian philosophies in contemporary (Depression) conversation.
“The story of the koi fish is a story of determination, perseverance, and going against all odds to evolve and become a better version of yourself. Even though it’s ancient folklore, it’s a story archetypal that transcended time and is still relevant today,” Adli said.
Creativity despite difficulties
However, it was not easy for Adli to draw these paintings. It wasn’t just about colors and brush strokes. It was more than that. A personal victory. At times he found it difficult to start, continue or even finish the drawing on the canvas.
“When making artwork, I sometimes have to deal with the angst of not knowing how it’s going to manifest visually. Anxiety is then rewarded with a feeling of euphoria when it reveals its completeness. It’s like a high, and I’m chasing the dragon,” Adli said.
In fact, one of the most remarkable artists in the world, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) was loved for his superb paintings, but he suffered from anxiety and depression. Likewise, despite his struggles, Adli managed to overcome them and succeeded in creating beautiful paintings.
Art helps to heal a person because it engages both mind and body. This is why most people turn to art when they get sick or when they want to break away from their toxic way of life or way of thinking. Likewise for Adli, art is therapeutic.
Describing his works, Adli said, “My works are a manifestation of fragmented integrity; visually embodying the dynamic nature of my life and experiences thus far. It is a manifestation of allowing faith to govern the process, instead of dictating it. It is a process of self-evolution.
“Working in an abstract approach, I try to emphasize that there is beauty in letting things happen, instead of dictating what they should be. When I first started painting, I never knew what it would give visually, but I’ve put myself in a position where I have to believe this will be its best potential.
“For me, the beauty of being in abstract practice is the anticipation of wholeness and completeness, which cannot be predicted, but can only be experienced by living it. It’s a bit like life, where it has to be lived to be fully understood,” Adli explained.
Adli has been organizing or participating in various exhibitions since 2010, in particular by exhibiting his works in the A look at Malaysia exhibition, at the Nolias Art Gallery, United Kingdom. Adli is expected to present his latest work, titled Bebas IIThis year.
“I hope my works will become some kind of evidence of the beauty of letting things happen and allowing things to reveal themselves in the pursuit of growth, just like how life manifests,” Adli added. .